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50 greatest music films ever made

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This is an interesting list (which no doubt will provoke plenty of disagreement!) about the 50 greatest music films ever made.


That's right, music films as opposed to actual musicals, meaning they are about real musicians.






1 Superstar: the Karen Carpenter Story (Todd Haynes, 1987)

2 Don't Look Back (DA Pennebaker, 1967)

3 Gimme Shelter (David Maysles/Albert Maysles/Charlotte Zwerin, 1970)

4 24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)

5 Topsy-Turvy (Mike Leigh, 1999)

6 Monterey Pop (DA Pennebaker, 1968)

7 Be Here to Love Me (Margaret Brown, 2004)

8 Thirty Two Short Films about Glenn Gould (Francois Girard, 1993)

9 **** Blues (Robert Frank, 1972)

10 Bird (Clint Eastwood, 1988)


11 The Last Waltz (Martin Scorsese, 1978)

12 Rude Boy (Jack Hazan, David Mingay, 1980)

13 Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (Stephen Kijak, 2006)

14 Bound for Glory (Hal Ashby, 1976)

15 The Decline of Western Civilization Parts I & II (Penelope Spheeris, 1981, 1988)

16 The Devil and Daniel Johnston (Jeff Feuerzeig, 2005)

17 Sweet Dreams (Karel Reisz, 1982)

18 Notes from a Jazz Survivor (Don McGlynn, 1982)

19 Elgar (Ken Russell, 1962)

20 Rust Never Sleeps (Neil Young, 1979)


21 The Future is Unwritten (Julien Temple, 2006)

22 'DiG!' (Ondi Timoner, 2004)

23 Some Kind Of Monster (Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, 2004)

24 A Hard Day's Night (Richard Lester, 1964)

25 Jimi Hendrix (Joe Boyd, 1973)

26 Sid and Nancy (Alex Cox, 1986)

27 Elvis (John Carpenter, 1979)

28 The Last of the Blue Devils (Bruce Ricker, 1980)

29 Rough Cut & Ready Dubbed (Hasan Shah & Dom Shaw, 1981)

30 Amadeus (Milos Forman, 1984)


31 Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984)

32 Charlie is My Darling (Peter Whitehead, 1966)

33 Magic Fire (William Dieterle, 1955)

34 A Joyful Noise (Robert Mugge, 1980)

35 Coal Miner?s Daughter (Michael Apted, 1980)

36 Last Days (Gus Van Sant, 2006)

37 Wonderful Life (Sidney J Furie, 1964)

38 'Round Midnight (Bertrand Tavernier, 1986)

39 Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid (Gimpo, 1995)

40 The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (Dani?le Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, 1968)


41 Buena Vista Social Club (Wim Wenders, 1999)

42 Soul to Soul (Dennis Sanders, 1971)

43 Hilary and Jackie (Anand Tucker, 1998)

44 Made in Sheffield (Eve Wood, 2001)

45 Jazz on a Summer?s Day (Bert Stern, 1959)

46 So You Wanna Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star? (Mark Kidel, 1976)

47 Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Aki Kaurism?ki, 1989)

48 MC5: A True Testimonial (David C Thomas, 2002)

49 Sign O? The Times (Prince, 1988)

50 Catch Us If You Can (John Boorman, 1965)

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No *Woodstock* ? Too hippie and not hip enough? Not my favorite, but it is surprising that it isn't listed.


I have a soft spot for *Straight, No Chaser* (Charlotte Zwerin, 1990), but that probably has to do more with Monk's incomparable music than the cinematic value of the documentary.

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No Woodstock ? Too hippie and not hip enough? Not my favorite, but it is surprising that it isn't listed.


I think the rules for the list, awkward though it may sound, is that they selected films that celebrated real-life musicians, whether as biopics or documentaries. I suppose a concert film that didn't concentrate on a single musician or group would not have been considered.

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